All photos by Liz Barclay (@liz_barclay)
“I can’t f***king tell,” “One of these is absolutely Diet Coke,” and “I have no goddamn idea,” were just some of the responses we received from from taste testers when we conducted a super-official—but ultimately indecisive—Mexican Coke versus regular Coke taste test with some of our colleagues in the Complex offices.
A lot of fad-loving foodies like to claim that Mexican Coke “is more natural tasting,” and will pay up to $5 for a bottle of the imported soda. There’s even a Mexican Coke Facebook page with more than 9,000 fans. So why did the Complex staff find it extremely difficult to tell the difference between the two Cokes, and why did approximately half of the Complex tasters guess right and the other 50% guessed wrong when faced with the Mexican Coke challenge? (And most of the ones who got it right copped to taking a stab in the dark.)
The answer is a bit complicated, but it backs up some previous evidence that Mexican Coke “tasting better” could be a complete myth. In a 2009 trend piece in the New York Times Magazine, a spokesman for Coca-Cola told the magazine, “All of our consumer research indicates that from a taste standpoint, the difference is imperceptible.”
And, the reason most people say that they prefer Mexican Coke is that it contains real cane sugar instead of corn syrup. But according to this Time article, a study done by Obesity journal found that Mexican Coke did not contain sucrose—the sugar compound contained in cane sugar. So what’s all this hoopla really about? Our best guess: The bottle is cooler and more retro-looking, and anything from a foreign country always has a bit more sex appeal. Mystery solved.
Nevertheless, reading people’s responses is fun, so click through the gallery to find out how people attempted to rationalize a taste different between the two types of Cokes.